Norfolk Virginia—An Examination of Violent Crime - Crime Essay Example

Norfolk Virginia—An Examination of Violent Crime
Virginia is not known for having a population that is well known for violent crime - Norfolk Virginia—An Examination of Violent Crime introduction. Between 2004 and 2005, Virginia actually ranked 37th in the nation in terms of violent crime (Disaster Center, 2006).  According to this same source, however, Virginia did not fare as well in terms of murder, ranking 20th in the nation. Between 2003 and 2004, the last period during which there is data for Norfolk, there were 275.5 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people.  Of this number, 5.2 murders were committed per 100,000 people.

By contrast, Norfolk experienced 763.1 violent crimes per 100,000 people and 24.5 murders per 100,000 people.  During this period, the national average was 554.4 and 6.9 per 100,000 people, respectively (Area Connect, 2007). These figures place Norfolk well above the national average, although the average Virginia levels fall below those same figures.  Conflicting information on the Norfolk murder rate exists, however.  According to the FBI Crime Data available at the State of the Cities Data Systems, only 6.8 murders occurred per 100,000 people during this same period (SOCDS: Output for Hampton, VA).  Due to the conflicting information, if five survivors exist for every homicide attempt, then the number of survivors that exist in Norfolk range from 34 to 122,5 per 100,000 or 3400 to 12250 survivors in total.

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Although there is no readily available data that indicates how these murders were committed, the statistics for aggravated assault indicate that the approximately 93 of 164 robberies per 100,000 people were committed with a gun and approximately 57 out of 226 per 100,000 people were committed with a gun.  These data indicate that guns are a weapon of choice in committing violent crimes, which is consistent with the USDOJ estimate that “firearms were used in the majority of murders (70%)” (2006, p. 2).  The data also reflect a slight drop in violent crime nationwide between 2003 and 2004.

The SOCDS gun crime information reflects the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) data that gun crimes are prevalent nationwide.  A review of the USDOJ report indicates that the SOCDS data reflects the nationwide drop in crime between 2003 and 2004.  It might not be too far a reach then, to assume that the crime data in Norfolk, VA will reflect rise similar to the nationwide crime data reported by the USDOJ.  If the Norfolk data does reflect that reported by the USDOJ, then 2005 data will indicate an increase in firearm violence from 2004 once that complete data set has been compiled and released.

The murder rate, to me, certainly seems in excess of the lower figures provided by the FBI; however, that perception might just be mine because I am exposed to the news about murders on a daily basis.  With the highly publicized McGuire murder being tried right now, it is sometimes nearly impossible to get away from murder in the news, or even in conversation with family and friends.  Even when such a high profile murder is not being tried, murder and violence are prevalent in the news, both on television and in print.

Given that atmosphere, it is sometimes difficult to feel safe.  School is not necessarily safe, even in communities in which violent school crime has occurred; the recurrence of violence at Columbine High School certainly brings that reality home.  Traveling outside of my home can sometimes be nerve-wracking, particularly at night and particularly after dark on the weekends.  Recent commercials that have been running on television show the ease with which a person’s home can be invaded, a fact no doubt being exploited to sell the alarm system being advertised.

Crime is not a constant concern that is always on my mind.  However, I am aware that crime is always around me.  Violence is indeed everywhere and it is not uncommon to hear the sound of gunshots in some neighborhoods.  Judging by the data, however, Norfolk VA is not alone in this issue.  Violent crimes are a national issue and can not be ignored.

References
AreaConnect.com.  (2007). Norfolk Virginia crime statistics and data resources. Retrieved 20 March 2007 fromhttp://norfolkva.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm

DisasterCenter.com. (2006). Virginia crime rates 1960-2005. Retrieved 20 March 2007 from http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/vacrime.htm.

State of the Cities Data Systems. (2006).  Output for Hampton, VA. Retrieved 20 March 2007 from http://socds.huduser.org/SOCDS_Home.htm

United States Department of Justice. (2006). Criminal victimization.  Retrieved 20 March 2007 from http://www.rainn.org/docs/statistics/ncvs_2005.pdf

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